Einstein: From Patent Clerk to International Celebrity

After two eclipse expeditions confirmed Einstein's theory of general relativity, the scientist became an international celebrity. (The New York Times Archives / Photo Illustration by Shaylyn Esposito)

One Hundred Years Ago, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity Baffled the Press and the Public

by Dan Falk/Smithsonian.com

When the year 1919 began, Albert Einstein was virtually unknown beyond the world of professional physicists. By year’s end, however, he was a household name around the globe. November 1919 was the month that made Einstein into “Einstein,” the beginning of the former patent clerk’s transformation into an international celebrity.

On November 6, scientists at a joint meeting of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Astronomical Society announced that measurements taken during a total solar eclipse earlier that year supported Einstein’s bold new theory of gravity, known as general relativity. Newspapers enthusiastically picked up the story. “Revolution in Science,” blared the Times of London; “Newtonian Ideas Overthrown.” A few days later, the New York Times weighed in with a six-tiered headline—rare indeed for a science story. “Lights All Askew in the Heavens,” trumpeted the main headline. A bit further down: “Einstein’s Theory Triumphs” and “Stars Not Where They Seemed, or Were Calculated to Be, But Nobody Need Worry.”

The spotlight would remain on Einstein and his seemingly impenetrable theory for the rest of his life. As he remarked to a friend in 1920: “At present every coachman and every waiter argues about whether or not the relativity theory is correct.”

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  1. “Galileo, in full Galileo Galilei, (born February 15, 1564, Pisa [Italy]—died January 8, 1642, Arcetri, near Florence), Italian natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials and to the development of the scientific method.”
    “Sir Isaac Newton PRS (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27 [a]) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his own day as a ” natural philosopher “) who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution.”
    “Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (/ɡaʊs/; German: Gauß [ˈkaʁl ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɡaʊs] ( listen);[1][2] Latin: Carolus Fridericus Gauss; 30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to many fields in mathematics and sciences.[3] Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum[4] (Latin for “the foremost of mathematicians”) and “the greatest mathematician since antiquity”, Gauss had an exceptional influence in many fields of mathematics and science, and is ranked among history’s most influential mathematicians.[5]”
    “James Clerk Maxwell FRS FRSE (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish[2][3] scientist in the field of mathematical physics.[4] His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity

    • “James Clerk Maxwell FRS FRSE (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish[2][3] scientist in the field of mathematical physics.[4] His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as different manifestations of the same phenomenon. Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetism have been called the “second great unification in physics” [5] after the first one realised by Isaac Newton.”
      “Albert Einstein (/ˈaɪnstaɪn/ EYEN-styne;[4] German: [ˈalbɛʁt ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] ( listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist[5] who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).[3][6]:274 His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.[7][8] He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula , which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”.[9] He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”,[10] a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.”

    • “Cavendish experiment, measurement of the force of gravitational attraction between pairs of lead spheres, which allows the calculation of the value of the gravitational constant, G. In Newton’s law of universal gravitation, the attractive force between two objects (F) is equal to G times the product of their masses (m1m2) divided by the square of the distance between them (r2); that is, F = Gm1m2/r2. The experiment was performed in 1797–98 by the English scientist Henry Cavendish. He followed a method prescribed, and used an apparatus built, by his countryman the geologist and astronomer John Michell, who had died in 1793.”
      This law is a classical law valid at relatively low speeds. Einstein sought to extend the law to speeds near the speed of light or about 186,000 miles/sec. The procedure he used to do this is called analytic continuation mathematics. It involves tensor calculus and other advanced mathematical concepts. The results reduce to the gravitational laws of Newton in the low speed limit. The laws still do not include quantization at all. Wouldn’t it be nice if physics today got as much publicity as Einstein got in the last century? Most people hate physics and mathematics and avoid them like the plague.

  2. Einstein was smart, intelligent . . . and combed the catacombs of the patents, and pulled ones that he could . . . well, let’s just say, re-invent upon expiry. They ALL do it. But, dude was thinking ahead with his theoretical observation:

    “At present every coachman and every waiter argues about whether or not the relativity theory is correct.”

    So to the 100th year anniversary of . . . whatever . . . cheers to Einstain?!? Befitting for the occasion, here’s another 20th Century marvel theory, which historians seem to be overlooking. He used his previous theory of insanity AND formulated the : “How Red Herrings Are Manufactured Out of Thin Media Hype: Insanity Relativity Theory 100 Years Hence.”

    With 100 years of testing . . . The coachman and waiter are still talking about his “theory”

    It’s ALL RELATIVE . . .

    Exactly. His. Point.

    This article has proven his theory correct! Alert the media . . . yawn.

  3. “Mysterious Dr X says, Universe is NOT Expanding” > CanadaFreePress(.)com

    As fellow Princeton professor Kurt Godel proved, if the Universe is not expanding, but instead rotating, then there is NO dark energy, NO dark matter and time travel is axiomatic.

    “Federally Funded Frankenscience” > CanadaFreePress(.)com

  4. The equation E=mc2 was first published by Olinto De Pretto in 1903, Einstein published this same equation in 1905 with no reference to De Pretto.
    The theory of relativity was published by Hendrik Lorentz and Henri Poincare in 1904 and Einstein published his in 1905 with no reference to Lorentz or Poincare. Most of his previous works were originated by his first wife Maric Mileva and her sources were questionable. Einstein was basically a plagiarist and being in the patent office gave him first contact to any works. This informatin can be found on the net including the timing.

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